GCM 46 | Living Happy


People are seeking for genuine and lasting happiness in their lives. However, we must all be mindful of the path we’re walking if that indeed leads to real happiness. Valerie Sheppard, an author and CEO of The Heartly Center for Mindfulness and Self-Mastery™, talks about her book, Living Happy to Be ME!: Dancing Your Soul Lightstyle. The book is about the combination of investment in coaching, transformational workshops, and private counseling that will enlighten us into peace, love, freedom, and joy. Valerie shares the four-step Happy to Be ME! process that we can apply to transform and create happiness in our lives.

Listen to the podcast here:

Valerie Sheppard on How To Live Happy Being Me

I have Valerie Sheppard. Valerie is a transformational expert, a former corporate executive on a Radical Sabbatical, Laughter Yoga leader, and professional improv comedian. Valerie, welcome to the Game Changing Mentality Podcast.

Rodney, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and share some time with you and your audience.

I’m glad, thank you for being here. There are a couple of things I want to get into. One is your book Happy to Be Me!. I want to talk about that, your inspiration to write it and what the audience can get from that. You are a self-mastery expert. I’ve heard that people called you that. I want to talk about what is your definition of a self-mastery expert and why that is important? Let’s start with your book first, Happy to Be Me!. What was your inspiration to write that book?

Living Happy to Be Me! Dancing Your Soul Lightstyle was inspired by my own experiences on my journey to discovering what was keeping me out of happiness in my own life. The discovery is not necessarily a moment. It was over several moments in time of reflection and introspection that, I have a lot to be grateful for. My life is going well. My career’s going super well, and yet I’m not very happy. There are some other physiological things going on at the time, and that sent me on this journey to understand how I could be so blessed and be momentarily happy. There are these waves of getting happy and then not so.

Is my definition wrong? Am I doing something? Should I be doing more? I went on a journey. The book is the combination of the thousands of dollars of investment in coaching, in transformational workshops, private counseling, books, and lots of stuff to figure it out for myself. When I felt like I figured it out, all of these different modalities that I did, I boil it down into the things that seem to be repeated and all of them. All of them talk about these things, and I created my four-step process from having done that process over and over and getting some good success with it.

What is your four-step process?

It’s a transformational system or series of actions that one takes to create more happiness in their life. I call it The 4 Steps Living Happy to BE ME process. Step one is wake up to the truth of who you are. Many of us go through life thinking we’re just humans. When I’m in the religious practices that I was in, there are some negative things at the center, and that I have to die and go to heaven to be more. Waking up to the truth of who you are, we are already spiritual beings having a human experience. We’re already eternal and immortal. That’s the essence of who we are. There’s so much in the body of wisdom out there on the exact definition of what we are. I talk about that. Wake up to the truth of who and what you are.

Step two is once you do that, you have to release all the things that don’t align with that. In me, it was all these ideas and beliefs I had about who and what I was, especially relative to being a black child born in the ’60s. What is that, the identity, personality I’d taken on as an athlete, as a leader and all those things that can get in the way of knowing that you are a divine being incarnated into a physical body. Step three is now that you’ve done those two steps, release the stuff that is not in alignment with you being magnificent. What kinds of things should you add? What are the replacements for the stuff that’s not aligned? That’s step three. Make up a new story of you in your life. Who are you going to be and what’s your life made up of? Step four is called take up. Take up the reins and go live it. Who are the people? What are the practices? What are the habits, thoughts, behaviors? What’s that doingness that keeps you in the space of happiness, peacefulness, fulfillment and success.

In step two talks about who you are, and awakening to your divine being. I want to talk about that just a little bit because what I believe is that that is so true. In addition to that, there’s something that you are here to contribute to Earth. We have a genetic makeup, DNA and we can clearly look and see that you’re all person. You have skin and hair and all of that. You’re a human, but then there’s a makeup of your soul, the essence of you, and it is a compilation of your desires, the things that you like and you don’t like, your personality, your talents.

Some of the things that you’re good at naturally. I think those are key elements to the contribution that you’re able to bring forward in the world. All of us have different gifts. All of us have different talents, abilities, and I think that’s also associated with what you’re offering. I believe we’re here, we have this gift of life, but then your responsibility is to give back to life. The way you do that is through your gift, your contribution, the things that you’re able to create, cultivate and bring forward in your life. What are your thoughts to that?

I agree with you, Rodney. There are a couple of the things that you said. The step one of wake up to the truth of who you are. Can you connect with that aspect of you that is the divine spark? That’s what brought us here. I worked with people who are saying, “We are all God incarnate.” The elements of the divine are coming into this realm of the earth through us as us. We have to go out of the body and back to heaven to be reunited. We can actually be that. That is a part of the essence. I talk about it with a metaphor of the oak tree and the acorn, and how acorn already has everything in it to become the mighty oak. The oak tree, when it’s mighty, gives off more acorns.

It’s like we are these self-generating cycles of reciprocity of love and light and divinity. Getting in touch with that, you have to confront whatever stories that have been implanted, fertilized and grown within you to make you not believe that. I teach at the University of California, Irvine and my course is Living 101 Being Happy and Whole. I ask every quarter when I teach it, how many people in here are atheist? Nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, Coo Coo religion and lots of hands go up. I have 92 students and I would say 25 hands went up with that question, which is the most I’ve ever had, so word’s getting out. I tell them, I’m not here to sell you something.

You’ll have an opportunity to make a decision about how you see yourself and then this technology can help you. First of all, what do you have to do to feel that essence of you and see yourself as more than? What is that? This whole idea of what I felt and what you were saying was a divine purpose. Some of us, and I did this as well, confused our purpose with that which we’re good at. We can be very good at something and be totally off track. I’m a marketing expert. I’m very good at it. I was a Vice President of marketing, running a large portfolio of brands, close to a billion dollars’ worth of business for a Fortune 200 company. I teach marketing. I still do marketing consulting, and yet all through that, I knew that I had a purpose as a messenger.

There are lots of things about me that are like, “That’s part of my purpose.” I had a high affinity for language at a very young age. My mom’s friends used to say, “She doesn’t talk baby talk.” Apparently, I started talking in full sentences, very mature language for my age. Those things go with being a messenger, and so you have to be awake enough, to read the tea leaves and go, “One thing is that I’m good at it, and there’s something else calling to me.” If people get quiet, they can feel that pull for what is their divine purpose. For a lot of people, it scares them. It’s hard to walk away from something you’re good at to go do something different that is this nebulous thing called purpose, when you can’t see where it’s going to take you. I talk about, you need to nurture that aspect of you that is curious. The curiosity is what will allow you to start dabbling and then maybe make a full sail leap. I’m unequivocally clear. I’m a messenger. The message is about this thing called self-mastery, mastering you in your life so that you can exquisitely manage whatever your life brings your way. I feel the most fulfilled, satisfied, and on fire inspired in myself when I’m doing it.

It's hard to walk away from something you're good at to go do something different. Click To Tweet

Would you say that you could have multiple contributions of gifts back to life, but one purpose?

There are so many contributions that we can make. When I talk with my students, they get very focused on helping others, and I’m all for that. To me, you make the greatest impact from volunteering, helping others or giving from your heart’s center into the world when you are also right within yourself. That’s called giving from a full cup rather than trying to fill yourself up by giving, which is actually a depleting exercise. It does take a lot of energy wherewithal to give, so you have to give when your cup is full. Many people out there are trying to fill themselves up by giving and ends up depleting. When you get depleted, people often get resentful, depressed, isolated, and lonely. Those things don’t add up to a happy and whole life.

Circling back, I guess the whole consciousness of all of this allowed you to be happy. Hence the book Happy to Be Me!.

The Me in Happy to Be Me! is capitalized in the book title. It’s an acronym for Magnificent Essence, and the book talks about the journey from lowercase me, I’m Happy to Be Me, which is lowercase me stands for mighty ego. When I’m in my mighty ego, I’m all about the things that I want, how much money I make, my titles and my outward appearances, the doing nature of life that makes me feel I’m going to get it, I’m going to show them and I’m going to be powerful, that’s more mighty ego. Whereas magnificent essence is more about the divine aspect of me, the compassionate, unconditionally loving, tolerant, harmonizing, giving aspect, collaborate, connect, create, that thing where we are one. The oneness, the essence is where I am committed to living from. It’s not always true that I’m always there.

It’s the dances, quieting the ego, opening the heart and living as that essence. Happy to be me means what I’m being, I’m living. My happiness comes from quieting my ego, opening myself up to my divinity and walking as that in the world. I have a quote that says, “Each time when we heal ourselves, we actually create great change in the world.” All those people out there who want to be change agents or I want to serve others, you can serve others just by healing your heart, by letting go of your anger. By getting to inner peace, that means there’s more peace in the world. Peace is not a geopolitical thing with me. We do need that as well, but the deepest level of peace comes from all the inhabitants of the planet getting to an inner peace and there’s less anger, resentment, have and have not on the outside when that happens.

I was reading a book, The Mind of A Leader and they were doing all studies. They’re talking about happiness. They’re studying the happiness in people, and the happiness of leaders. One of the studies revealed that people compare it themselves. Their happiness was based on how they relate it to themselves to their neighbor. For example, if they made $100,000 and the neighbor was making $75,000, they felt happy. If the neighbor was making a little bit more, then they felt less happy because they were measuring themselves against others. That was the basis for happiness. I thought, isn’t that sad?

It’s because we’re trained to believe that success and happiness are equal. When I’m successful, then I’ll be happy. That’s the way I was trained. I got very successful and I wasn’t happy, and then I was like, “Hold on. That’s not the promise that was made to me. Where is this happening?” We get into a long list of comparisons: the quality of the house, my title, and my income as a measure of success. If I’m less successful than others than I wanted to be at this time in my life, I’m not allowed to be happy. What I’m talking about is intrinsic happiness. What that is is extrinsic happiness. There is no choice to be happy. It’s a product of your experiences. There’s a difference between what I teach and stand for and live, which is intrinsic happiness versus extrinsic happiness.

GCM 46 | Living Happy

Living Happy: The deepest level of peace comes from all the inhabitants of the planet getting to inner peace when there are less anger and resentment.


The model that you mentioned from the book where people are getting happiness from the way they compare themselves to others and then come out on top, that’s letting external situations and scenarios validate and drive you. I did it for most of my life. It’s okay up to a point. The problem with it is most of that external stuff you have no control over. I didn’t want to be on a rollercoaster ride with no control over feeling happy. The intrinsic happiness means I’m doing the choices. I’m choosing how I feel about things and allowing that to be the source of my happiness. I’m choosing consciously the thoughts that I have been truly practice. I’m choosing the people who are in and out, not making it up to them to be in my life if they’re not a part of the happy equation. I’m giving myself happiness on a conscious choiceful moment by basis from me, to me, for me, by me.

That is the living happy to be me model. Some people reject it because they hear that as a definition of selflessness. I’ve written a couple of articles on this. One of them was I’m taking a stand for selfishness. What I am talking about is making yourself important in your own life. What I’m not talking about is trying to make you the centerpiece of other people’s lives. That’s the highest level of egoism and narcissism. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about when you’re making decisions about your life, make your needs and your desires paramount. In addition to saying now that I’ve taken care of myself, I’m healthy, vibrant, inspired, and strong, what is mine to give? What is mine to do to serve the planet? It’s a big difference between this internally fueled happiness.

I can hear some people say that in itself is selfish. Love is based on you serving and being there for others, making sacrifices for others such as Christ did for us. Let’s talk about that. I want to hear your response on that.

I don’t believe that that is the definition of love. The definition of love is to just be it. To me, in the centerpiece of unconditional love is compassion, tolerance, acceptance, allowing. The principle of turn the other cheek is centered in that unconditional love. It doesn’t mean in the literal realm. Yeshua taught using parables and a lot of the parables get misconstrued. There are all kinds of issues with the interpretations of Ancient Aramaic, Greek and whether you translate to one language or another. A lot of ancient teachings, we get quirky interpretations. The way I think of it is being loved doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with doing this.

I don’t have to do anything to be unconditional love. I don’t have to save you. I don’t have to loan you money. I don’t have to be your friend. I don’t have to come over and shovel your snow, clean your driveway or give you a $25 contribution. Those things I can do, and I certainly choose to do a lot of those things. I don’t believe that that is the intrinsic aspect of being loved. We’ve turned love into a verb, go do it. I believe that unconditional love as a noun. It’s just a being nature that doesn’t require any doingness necessarily. It’s a vibrational energy that one emanates from their heart.

Does it result in some type of action?

Yes. That’s what I was saying. I can do things in the nature of love, but that is not necessarily the only way that I love.

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If love is not representing those types of behaviors or action, if you’re embodying love by default, this is how you’re going to behave, correct?

No. That’s where I think things have gotten out of whack. What we have is people who are believing that if I’m embodying love, then I’m supposed to take care of people. Maybe. What if you’re taking care of them enables them to not take care of themselves? Therefore, you’re actually setting up a circumstance where they’re dependent. That’s called codependence. That’s not love. That’s out of whack love. To me, there’s a fine balance here between an outward doingness of love that also empowers and allows people to stand in their own love. Part of the love equation that we’re not taught very well that I think is underneath what some of what you’re saying and what I’m saying is we’re self-loved.

For example, if I love someone and I see that they can never seem to keep money, I keep depleting my bank account because I love them. I don’t want them to suffer, so I keep giving them money every time they come by. I’m depleted when I want to go do something with my money, it’s not there because I was so loving and generous, I gave it away. Is that proper use of the blessing that was given to me as resources? Is that the proper support of this person learning their own internal empowerment? It’s not a blanket thing. Everyone has to investigate within their own relationships. I am acting in love in such a way that I do not love myself and I’m actually in love harming them because I’m taking over where they should be taking over.

I don’t think it’s as easy as saying “If I’m a loving person, then by default, I am taking care of others.” I don’t think it’s as easy as that. I do all those things anyway, but I’m much more judicious. The other thing is, why are we doing it? This question goes to, what’s our deepest intent? I used to think I was very loving and generous. Whenever I’d go on vacation, I would come back with gifts for everybody. While I was on vacation, I would take the time. I’m in a foreign country. I’m in Europe, going to post offices and mailing postcards back home. I was like, “Look at me. I’m so loving and generous.” Sometimes I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring the gifts I brought back for people. When my friends go on vacation, they didn’t have anything for me. I was like, “I’m doing all this because I’m a loving friend and I’m not getting anything in return.” That was a little seed of resentment. When I started doing this work that I’m doing, I started looking at it. Am I giving or am I doing something else?

What I uncovered was what I was doing it for wasn’t pure. What I was doing it for was so that they would love me back. I’ve done all this stuff for you and you owe me. Where’s my quid pro quo? I bought you something. Where’s mine? I did this for you. Where’s mine? As long as I’m sitting in the, “Where’s mine? You owe me,” then I’m not giving, I’m looking to take something from you. I want something back. That’s not pure energy on my part and it wasn’t unconditional. My love was conditional. I loved you enough to bring you something and then I expected you to do it in return, and when you didn’t, my love was diminished. I got very clear that what I was doing wasn’t the kind of love that I want to stand for. That’s where I said, “I don’t need to buy people gifts. I want them to love me just because I am, not because I have some doing thing that is for them.” When I feel inspired to give them a gift, I still do that. I just clean up that act on the other side.

To take your further, we can let go of the attachment of someone loving us and just be in love. Love them unconditionally, whether they love you or not because that’s just who you are. That’s part of your being. You won’t ever be disappointed. There won’t be room for that because you’re walking in love at that point. A lot of times you’re right. There’s this confusion about what we have to do the action, and what’s missing as the identity. We have to have the identity. A lot of things are positioned and executed in that manner. It’s the doing, everyone is focused on the activities. Pick a theme, a topic, or a profession. It’s all about the activities, we never talk about the identity. Once you get the identity, the activities are natural.

That’s why my first step in the four steps is to wake up to the truth of who you are, anchor in on that. When you anchor in on, “I’m a divine being, I’m the essence of the divine,” one true love, the nature of the divine, the nature of Jesus, Buddha, God, Mohammed, the nature of all the avatars is love. When you get to the Bhagavad Gita and the Quran, on the deepest level of these different ancient works around how do you live a righteous life, the centerpiece of it is being loved. It’s identifying with that and carrying that energy in the midst of all, there’s a lot of ugliness. We’ve gotten to a place where we can’t disagree without making the other person wrong, name-calling and some ugly behavior according to me, maybe not according to everyone. That to me is the antithesis of being loved. Those same people may feel they’re doing love. I get that. To me, that’s not being identified with, “I am love.” That’s the difference.

GCM 46 | Living Happy

Living Happy: Self-mastery means to master you in your life so that you can exquisitely manage whatever life sends your way.


You can’t do love. You just be love in my opinion. You’re a self-mastery expert. What does that mean?

Self-mastery means to master you in your life so that you can exquisitely manage whenever your life sends your way. The way that that gets actualized is knowing it’s anchored on three things: self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love. When an individual is doing those three things, it’s easier for them to anchor in being love rather than doing love. Also, to give themselves to the world at the highest vibration. For example, I’ve been a leader all my life. I was the captain of soccer teams, cheerleading squads, director, Vice President. I’ve had big teams. I coach at the executive leadership level. There was a time in my career where people would tell me, “You feel angry all the time.” That was hard to hear. I would often answer in a very angry tone. “I’m not angry. I don’t know why you think that. What are you talking about?”

Seriously, it’s funny but even back then, not realizing that the way I was answering embodied anger. It wasn’t until I went through a journey that culminated in who I’m being and my book and me living this whole different focus on purpose. It wasn’t until I went through that I discovered there was a lot of anger internal. Internal anger and resentment coming from ages gone by, childhood wounds, misinterpretations, hurts that were fueling the way I was being. I wasn’t just a marketing executive. I was trying to prove that I’m worthy of the title marketing executive as a black female. While I’m working my tail off to prove that, you can’t prove anything to anybody. It’s up to them to decide.

While I was working on proving this, having you see me, hear me and understand me, I fought so hard from my point of view. I was doing all that because I was fueled by this idea that I wasn’t enough and I had no idea that was going on. It’s only in the self-awareness that I’ve got some situations from my past that trigger this feeling that I’m not enough, I’m not worthy and accepting that that’s not the truth, but I will accept that that’s an interpretation I had from a time gone by. Self love is to love myself exactly as I am, whether I’m a Vice President title or I’m filing bankruptcy. To love myself, and then from that place go on, bring that into all of my relationships and into my doingness.

That’s where my happiness comes from. It’s not an achievement based on happiness anymore. I had a lot to be happy about. That was where it all went to hell. I was like, “I am high achieving and I’m not happy.” The part of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, nobody knew was down there. It ripped a hole in that ship’s hull way below the surface of the water. That’s what sinks individuals, the stuff that’s rolling around on the inside of them that they are unaware of. It’s subconscious or unconscious or that they’re aware of but not willing to go work on, to understand, except, heal, move from that healed and forgiven place into a new vibration.

That’s a common thing. If you ask any coach, any mentor, anyone who deals in this space, the root of most problems lies within. People don’t want to go there. Why do you think that is? Why are we so reluctant to deal with the inner part of ourselves?

I’ll tell you the objections that I’ve heard. I’ve heard one. I’ve even had a client tell me, “I’m happy enough.” What does more happiness look like? I don’t know. I’m happy enough, I have some ups and downs. Isn’t that what everybody has? Isn’t that enough? That was a sad moment for me working with her. We kept working on that, allowing her to see that there was something in our her past that was making her except marginal. “This is all there is, so I’m going to accept it.” I’ve had other clients who are afraid. They know there’s some what they would characterize as demons or there are some dark places back there. “I don’t want to tap into that. I want to get it to sit down, be quiet and I’m going to go do what I want to do.”

Self-mastery means knowing what's going on underneath the surface of you. Click To Tweet

The problem is from a universal law’s perspective, whatever we resist persists. You can’t cover it over and tell it to sit down and shut up. You actually have to go into it and burst it open. A couple of my clients have said, “If I go into that Pandora’s box and open it up, two things are going to happen that I don’t want to deal with. One is the people around me are going to know that I’m not the person I’ve presented. I present myself as strong, capable and talented. I don’t want them to see that inside there’s a scared little girl who has a little bit of self-hatred and it doesn’t feel like anybody loves her.” That was a little bit of me. I don’t want them to see that. That’s my ugly underbelly. If I’ve put that out in the world, I’ll never recover from it. They won’t love me. That’s one piece. The other piece I hear from clients is, “If I open up that door, I’ll never come back.”

They think they’re going to get swallowed into this pit and they won’t ever recover from it. Fortunately, that’s not true. That hasn’t happened to any of my clients or my students. It’s actually liberating. It gives the heart an opportunity to expand, give and receive more love. Sometimes people need a coach. I work with a spiritual counselor. I feel that’s a part of how I bring my authenticity into my work. I got to be working on myself as I offer myself to serve others. That’s what I said about serving from a full cup. That’s how I stay full. Some of this stuff, you may need a learned intermediary, psychologist, psychiatrist, coach, and spiritual counselor. You may need that. Some people don’t want to air their dirty laundry in public so they don’t get themselves that support. It’s too bad because it’s a profound thing to know that you have this relationship with yourself that is empowering and inspiring.

It can be clearing, freeing and refreshing. That’s my experience.

Mine too. Peace, love, joy, and freedom sits on the other side of whatever that dark hole is. It’s worth everything I’ve done to be sitting in peace, love, joy and freedom.

It’s like an awakening; a rebirth.

Yes. I talked about that in my book. I say this is the kind of reborn I’m very happy to support. We talk about purpose and stuff. My name is Valerie Rene Sheppard. Valerie comes from the English Valor and Valerian, which means strength. My middle name is Renee. It comes from the French Renaissance or rebirth. My last name is Sheppard. We have familial documents that show it was actually changed. The original was Shepherd. That’s a shepherd who tends a flock, and as a messenger, what am I doing with strength? Tending flocks who wished to be reborn into their own lives as them. I’m totally with you on the rebirth. It’s a beautiful thing to be reborn as you into your life, anew.

Who do you mostly work with? I know you have your college students. Do you find that more college students come to you for help or is it adults out of college? What’s your ideal client?

GCM 46 | Living Happy

Living Happy to Be ME!: Dancing Your Soul Lightstyle

I work across a very large spectrum. I have private coaching clients who are in their 40s and 50s. I have students who I mentor who are in their twenties and 30s. I have my practice on campus, which is seventeen to 22. I have grad students. Some of them are seventeen to 28. I love working across that spectrum. What’s so interesting is that the challenges, problems, misalignments, issues are the same. The primary reason I’m committed to bringing this to the young adult population is I keep thinking, if I had had this wisdom when I was in my twenties, my life would have been different then.

I don’t regret any of it at all. It has contributed to who I am. I also know the data on college students is quite alarming from the amount of untreated depression and anxiety disorder, suicide being the number one or two cause of death between the ages of seventeen and 22. The amount of depression, that feels like a place to contribute some energy. That’s where I’m doing a lot of work through my Center for Mindfulness and Self-Mastery. It’s growing my curriculum, taking it online and then expanding it through digital technology to wherever the students are. They don’t have to be wherever I am.

I’ve learned a little bit about you. I realize that you do have a course where you’re teaching some of the stuff that we’re talking about and as part of the curriculum at the University of California. Kudos to you for doing that first of all. Not only doing this work but getting this work a part of a curriculum, that’s such a step forward in distributing this information. Why do you think that’s so important? I would like to see it even at lower numbers. I think as human beings, whenever we have a challenge, this particular information, it’s understanding who you are, how to create, how you use your mental properties and your imagination to bring forth your contribution. Understanding what your contributions are, your intent or purpose, that is something that we need to have as a primary focus for a young person. We can start before they even get into kindergarten, but facilitate the process as they grow through. This is not found in institutionalized education anywhere. I’m grateful to hear that you have a part of a curriculum at the University of California. We need to do more, we need to take further steps in getting this type of inflammation included in institutions. What are your thoughts? How do you think we can move forward, actually break those barriers and include this information in those institutions?

It’s a dynamic, evolving situation. One of the reasons that I’m focused on the seventeen to 22 is the wisdom that’s in my book is somewhat sophisticated. It’s a higher level. I feel I am equipped to talk to that age group. The person that I am, I believe the energy that’s coming through me is at that level. That’s why I do it. I do work with organizations like the Community Alliance for Youth Success and other organizations like working through the FYRE Scholars Program on the University of California, Irvine campus, which is for emancipated foster youth and then working with foster youth at younger levels.

There are lots of different interventions for the K to 12 groups. Some of them are in afterschool programs or in addition to school programs, leadership. The institutionalization of this can be a daunting task and it has to do with something too big for me to want to tackle, which is our entire educational system may need to go through some important changes. Here in California, my experience of our educational system feels very focused on evaluation test scores. You being a magnet school. When I used to volunteer at an elementary school in Irvine, the teachers were frustrated and they‘re burdened by the criteria they need to meet in order for the school to get its certificate as a magnet school or as a top school based on test scores.

I don’t know that all of is true, but my experience is that education has become about that. It’s also very focused on the intellect. There’s not as much focus that I have seen on emotional intelligence and social-emotional learning, things like relationships, sense of self, self-esteem. Outside of the system of education, there’s also what’s happening in the family system with technology. Why does a seven-year-old need a cell phone? Why are our children being left to their own devices in some circumstances, where they’re just on their phone or a tablet playing games? That’s how they’re learning, which when I get them in college, they don’t know how to look someone in the face and have a conversation. They do it by texting and they do it on Instagram, post a picture and say a couple of words about it. They have very low social skills and interaction. It feels to me like it’s a multifaceted problem. It needs a multifaceted answer. There are lots of facets being people are pushing on them and it hasn’t all come together beautifully yet. I still trust and believe that it will. I’m still committed to doing my part and my part of the pond, part of the sandbox so to speak.

If people wanted to learn more about you, read your book, find out how they can connect with you, where should they go?

Some people don't want to air their dirty laundry in public so they don't get themselves that support. Click To Tweet

There a couple of different places where people can connect with me. The primary one is the website for the book, which is HappyToBeMe.net. There’s a contact desk there. They can hit that and I’ll get a message. They can send me a message through that. They can also just email me at Valerie@HappyToBeMe.net. I’ve got an Instagram page, Facebook page attached to the book and what I’m doing in the world and I would love people to check me out on YouTube. I have a series there called Hump Day Happy Chats. I do them live on Facebook on Wednesday mornings at 8:30 AM Pacific on my Living Happy To Be Me Facebook page. That’s a place to get in touch with me also. I would love it for people to subscribe and share.

Valerie, this has been a wonderful conversation. I love the work that you are doing in the world. I think it’s amazing. It needs to spread all over and I’m just happy for those college students. I’m a little jealous that they get to spend their time and get that type of information from you because I think it’s so valuable. That time in their life is key.

I feel very blessed to be the carrier of this message and to be able to interact with these students. The testimonials that they leave or the emails that they send me are so heartwarming. I have lots of happy tears because of it.

Thank you again for coming on the show. This has been wonderful. Do you have any final words for the audience?

One lasting thought is a quote from Confucius, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I use that to say, you can’t outrun what’s inside you. You can change jobs, you can change partners, you can change zip codes, you can change your wardrobe, but you cannot outrun the stuff that’s below the surface iceberg of you that could be holding you back or keeping you down. The best thing to do is to go into it. There are lots of people who would like to help you. I’m one of them. I encourage you to get into this self-mastery dance in order to be the highest version of yourself wherever you go.

Valerie Shepherd, ladies and gentlemen, transformational expert, self-mastery expert. We appreciate you being here with us on The Game Changer Mentality Podcast. Thank you so much.

Thank you. Many blessings to you and the audience.

Thank you. There you have it, another episode of the Game Changer Mentality Podcast. Until next time. Stay blessed and remember that greatness is your birthright.

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About Valerie Sheppard

GCM 46 | Living HappyCatastrophic-stroke survivor, inspirational keynote speaker, university lecturer, and CEO of The Heartly Center for Mindfulness and Self-Mastery™, Valerie Sheppard uses the principles in her multi-award-winning, #1 international best-seller, Living Happy to Be ME!©, to guide teens and adults, executives and entrepreneurs to happiness, success and fulfillment.

Her ground-breaking life-mastery curriculum at the University of California, Irvine is getting rave reviews from undergraduate and graduate students alike. Valerie’s been featured on the cover of My Authentic Life Magazine™, published in 11:11 Magazine™, and is a Featured Luminary on InspireMeToday.com. She is also the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and success. https://HappytoBeME.net


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